"Ma" Rainey, vocals
b. Columbus, GA, USA.
d. Dec. 22, 1939, Columbus, GA, USA.
née: Gertrude Malissa Nix Pridgett.
Among the songs for which she is remembered are "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom", "Bo Weavil Blues", and "C.C. Rider".
Biography by
~Jim O'Neal & Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Ma Rainey wasn't the first blues singer to make records, but by all rights she probably should have been. In an era when women were the marquee names in blues, Ma Rainey was once the most celebrated of all -- the "Mother of the Blues" had been singing the music for more than 20 years before she made her recording debut (Paramount, 1923). With the advent of blues records, she became even more influential, immortalizing such songs as "See See Rider," "Bo-Weavil Blues," and "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." Like the other classic blues divas, she had a repertoire of pop and minstrel songs as well as blues, but she maintained a heavier, tougher vocal delivery than the cabaret blues singers who followed. 

Ma Rainey's records featured her with jug bands, guitar duos, and bluesmen such as Tampa Red and Blind Blake, in addition to the more customary horns-and-piano jazz-band accompaniment (occasionally including such luminaries as Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory, and Fletcher Henderson).

Born and raised in Columbus, Georgia, Ma Rainey (born Gertrude Pridgett) began singing professionally when she was a teenager, performing with a number of minstrel and medicine shows. In 1904, she married William "Pa" Rainey and she changed her name to "Ma" Rainey. The couple performed as "Rainey and Rainey, Assassinators of the Blues" and toured throughout the south, performing with several minstrel shows, circuses, and tent shows. According to legend, she gave a young Bessie Smith vocal lessons during this time. By the early '20s, Ma Rainey had become a featured performer on the Theater Owners' Booking Association circuit.

In 1923, Ma Rainey signed a contract with Paramount Records. Although her recording career lasted only a mere six years -- her final sessions were in 1928 -- she recorded over one hundred songs and many of them, including "C.C. Rider" and "Bo Weavil Blues," became genuine blues classics. During these sessions, she was supported by some of the most talented blues and jazz musicians of her era, including Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, Coleman Hawkins, Buster Bailey, and Lovie Austin.

Rainey's recordings and performances were extremely popular among Black audiences, particularly in the south. 
After reaching the height of her popularity in the late '20s, Rainey's career faded away in the early '30s as female blues singing became less popular with the blues audience. Rainey died of a heart attack. 
She left behind an immense recorded legacy, which continued to move and influence successive generations of blues, country, and rock & roll musicians. In 1983, Rainey was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame; seven years later, she was inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Constantin Bakaleinikoff
film composer/conductor/musical director
b. Moscow, Russia
d. Sept. 3, 1966, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Curiously, Bakaleinikoff is now mostly forgotten, yet, over his career, Constantin worked on over 261 films.
Constantin Bakaleinikoff - Wikipedia

Władysław Daniłowski
Władysław Daniłowski (also known by his pseudonyms Władysław Dan and Walter Dana, April 26, 1902 - March 4, 2000) was a Polish and American pianist, composer and singer. A pioneer of jazz and tango in Poland, in the United States he is best known as a promoter of polka music. He wrote the score for the first Polish sound film.
Born April 26, 1902 in Warsaw, then in the Russian-held Congress Poland, to a renowned Polish writer and revolutionary Gustaw Daniłowski. In 1919 he joined the Polish Army and served with distinction during the Polish-Bolshevist War. Following demobilisation he started studies at the Warsaw Conservatory. He studied piano under tutelage of Henryk Melcer-Szczawiński and theory of music in the class of Piotr Rytel. In 1926 he also graduated from the law faculty of the University of Warsaw.

In late 1920s Daniłowski spent two years working for the Polish embassy in Paris, where he fell in love with jazz and tango, two styles of music gaining increasing popularity in Europe at that time. Upon his return to Poland he started composing for the Qui Pro Quo cabaret. Numerous songs written for the star of the cabaret, Hanka Ordonówna, gained him much fame in Warsaw and then in the entire country. Also in 1928 he founded a Chór Dana (Dan's Choir), modelled after The Revelers. In 1929 he also formed an Argentinian Choir V. Dana which helped popularise tango in Poland, to the extent that already by the start of the 1930s it started to be considered a part of Warsaw's folklore.

His music gained him much fame in 1930s Poland and he became one of the most popular composers of the time. His songs were sung by many of the most notable vocalists of the epoch, including Adam Aston, Mieczysław Fogg, Zofia Terné and Mira Zimińska-Sygietyńska, to name but a few. In 1930 he also wrote the score for the first Polish sound film, the Moralność Pani Dulskiej. He later wrote scores for numerous other films, including Dziesięciu z Pawiaka (1931), Dvanáct křesel (1933), Wacuś (1935) and Dodek na froncie (1936). The lyrics for his songs were written by some of the most renowned Polish authors of the time, including Julian Tuwim, Marian Hemar, Konrad Tom and Jerzy Jurandot. Until 1939 he was also the head of the Popular Music Department of the Polish Radio, at the same time he continued a successful diplomatic career for the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Following the outbreak of World War II Daniłowski moved to Italy and then in 1940 to the United States. There he re-activated his Dana Choir under a new name (Dana Ensemble) and adopted a new pseudonym - Walter Dana. He worked as a speaker for numerous Polish-language radio stations and signed contracts with Harmonia and RCA Victor record companies. In the 1940s he also founded his own label, Dana Records. In hid capacity of record company executive, promoter, and publisher, he was largely responsible for the "big-band" sound of polka music that became pre-eminent in the America. Jimmy Sturr states that "He started what is known today as polka music, it's as simple as that," In 1958 he moved to Miami Beach. Later in his life he transitioned to a composer of classical music. He died March 4, 2000 and was buried in the Southern Memorial Park.

Lee Gaines, bass vocals
b. Houston, MS, USA.
Member: 'Delta Rhythm Boys'
The Delta Rhythm Boys were an American vocal group active for over 50 years in the 20th century. The group was first formed at Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma in 1934 by Elmaurice Miller, Traverse Crawford, Essie Joseph Adkins and Otha Lee Gaines. In 1936 they moved to Dillard University in New Orleans, where they worked under Frederick Hall under the names New Orleans Quintet and Frederick Hall Quintet. Clinton Holland (soon replaced by Carl Jones) and Kelsey Pharr (replaced by Hugh Bryant in 1942) replaced Miller and Adkins. Rene DeKnight became their pianist.
The group appeared often in the 1940s on radio programs such as Amos and Andy and The Joan Davis Show, and performed on Broadway in the shows Sing Out the News and Hot Mikado. They also appeared extensively in film, including in You'll Never Get Rich with Bing Crosby and Rita Hayworth. Aside from their own recordings, they served as background vocalists for Charlie Barnet, Mildred Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Ruth Brown.
In the 1950s they began to amass a large fan base in Europe, particularly in Scandinavia. In 1956, the group relocated to Europe and performed there up until Otha Lee Gaines's death on July 15, 1987.
In 1960, Kelsey Pharr died in Honolulu after a trip to Japan. Soon after, Carl Jones left to have more time with his family and was replaced by first tenor Herb Coleman. Hugh Bryant replaced Kelsey.
With the American music scene changing rapidly, the Deltas found their appeal diminishing. Overseas they were royally received, however, so in the early 1960s the group made Paris their home base for years of European performances.
In 1974, Herb Coleman was shot in Paris and died in the arms of Lee Gaines. Original Delta member Traverse Crawford died in the following year. By 1979, the lineup was Gaines, Bryant, Walter Trammell on first tenor, and Ray Beauty on second tenor.
The Delta Rhythm Boys were later inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Karl George, Trumpet
b. St.Louis, MO, USA.
Karl Curtis George (b. April 26, 1913, St. Louis, Missouri) is an American jazz trumpeter.
Early in his career George played with McKinney's Cotton Pickers (1933) and Cecil Lee. Later in the 1930s he spent time in the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra and then in the orchestras of Teddy Wilson (1939-40) and Lionel Hampton (1941-42). He served in the Army in 1942-43, then moved to California and played with Stan Kenton (1943), Benny Carter (1944), Count Basie (1945), and Happy Johnson (1946). He led his own group on record in 1945-46, and played in sessions led by Charles Mingus, Slim Gaillard, Oscar Pettiford, Dinah Washington, and Lucky Thompson. George retired from music after the late 1940s due to ill health.

Shirley Griffith, guitar
b. Brandon, MS, USA.
Shirley Griffith (April 26, 1908 – June 18, 1974) was an American blues singer and guitarist, mainly based in Indianapolis. He is best known for his recordings, "Walkin' Blues" and "Bad Luck Blues".
Griffith was born in Brandon, Mississippi. He died from heart disease in Indianapolis in June 1974, at the age of 66.

"Fiddlin' Doc" Roberts
C&W fiddle
b. (Madison County), KY, USA.
Dock Philipine Roberts was born and raised on a farm in Madison County, Kentucky and learned to play the fiddle at an early age with some help from his older brother Liebert. Doc's and Liebert's musical mentor was the African-American fiddler Owen Walker. After finishing his studies in Berea Roberts married in 1913. In 1925, a talent scout, Dennis Taylor, recruited Roberts along with Welby Toomey and Edgar Boaz as old time recording artists for Gennett Records. In early 1927, Roberts recorded with the string band, the "Booker Family". Together with Dick Parman and Ted Chestnut, he formed the Kentucky Thorobreds. They recorded in April 1927 for the Paramount label.

In the fall of 1927, he formed a duo with Asa Martin called Martin & Roberts. They made their recording debut in May 1928 for the Gennett label. Between 1927-1934, the duo performed at fiddler's conventions, in schoolhouses, on vaudeville stages, and on radio (WHAS in Louisville, Kentucky). Martin & Roberts recorded altogether more than 200 sides on 11 different labels. Later on, with the addition of Doc Roberts' son James, the Fiddlin' Doc Roberts Trio was formed. In 1928, Roberts was hired, through the agency of Bradley Kincaid, by the National Barn Dance radio show in Chicago. He was paid $50 a week. After only two weeks he quit the show and moved back to Kentucky. The reason was that he was unable to sleep due to the noise of the big city. The Doc Roberts Trio lasted until 1934 when Roberts retired as a recording artist. During the next 4 decades, he continued to make personal appearances and occasional radio works.

He died at the age of 81 in his hometown of Richmond.

Dave Tough, Drums
b. Oak Park, IL, USA
d. Dec. 6, 1948, Newark, NJ, USA.
Dave Tough was famous (and infamous) for several things. He was a subtle and versatile drummer who hated to solo. He was an intellectual whose career was often rather aimless. Tough was also a painfully thin alcoholic whose drinking got him into trouble on a regular basis and shortened his life.
Although he did not officially attend Austin High School (he was at nearby Oak Park High), Tough was early on associated with the Austin High Gang, becoming a close friend of Bud Freeman. Tough played at holiday resorts during his summer vacations of 1923 and 1924, and then became a full-time musician the following year. After playing with Sig Meyers, Husk O'Hare's Wolverines, Art Kassel, and Jack Gardner, among others, Tough and Danny Polo took a boat to Europe in 1927. He spent two years overseas, mostly playing with George Carhart on the Continent, returned to the U.S. briefly, and then went back to Paris and worked with Mezz Mezzrow and Carhart again. After coming back home in May 1929, Tough worked with Benny Goodman, Red Nichols, played locally in Chicago, and then took time off due to illness. Tough was largely outside of music during much of 1932-1935. After being with Ray Noble's Orchestra briefly, he played with Tommy Dorsey's Big Band (1936-37), Red Norvo, Bunny Berigan, Benny Goodman (where he was Gene Krupa's replacement during March - July, 1938), then back with Dorsey through the summer of 1939.

Tough became a regular on the Dixieland circuit for a time, playing with Bud Freeman's Summa Cum Laude Band, the Jack Teagarden Big Band, Mezz Mezzrow, and Joe Marsala in addition to a return engagement with Benny Goodman. He also had several additional periods outside of music due to illness. After short stints with Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, and Charlie Spivak, Tough spent part of 1942-1944 in the Navy where he played with Shaw's Naval Band. He made a strong impact during 1944-1945 as an important member of Woody Herman's First Herd, where his drumming was quite influential. Tough was one of the few Dixielanders able to do a credible job playing bop-oriented music.
After leaving Herman in September 1945, he worked with Joe Marsala, Eddie Condon (1946), Jerry Gray, Jazz at the Philharmonic, the Charlie Ventura-Bill Harris Group, and then Muggsy Spanier (1947-1948). However, alcoholism and illness plagued him and he died from head injuries after falling down in a Newark street. Dave Tough, who in some ways was the Bunny Berigan of the drums, led just one record date, four titles cut for Jamboree (and later reissued by Onyx) in 1946.
~ Scott Yanow
Notable Events Occurring 
On This Date Include:

Zinky Cohn, piano
died in Chicago, IL, USA.
Age: 43

Vernon Tim Spencer
Tenor Vocals with the "Sons of the Pioneers,"
Age: 65.
b. July 7, 1908, Webb City, Missouri, USA
Tim Spencer

Walter Johnson, drums
died in New York, NY, USA.
Age: 73.
Worked with Tab Smith.

Count Basie, piano/leader
died in Hollywood, FL, USA.
Age: 79.
Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty Orchestra
  • Smiles (Introducing: Mystery Moon)

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra - Georgia
  • Coo Coo

Viola McCoy accompanied by Bob Ricketts' Band Gulf Coast Blues
Bessie Smith - 'Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do
Marion Harris
  • That Red Head Gal
  • Two-Time Dan

Bennie Krueger and his Orchestra
  • Savannah (The Georgianna Blues)

Art Hickman and his Orchestra - Hold Me In Your Arms Again
Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra
  • That Little Something
  • The Same Old Moon

Halfway House Orchestra - Let Your Lips Touch My Lips
Ben Pollack and his Californians - Sweet Sue - Just You

The California Ramblers - I'm Croonin' a Tune About June

Don Redman and his Orchestra That Blue Eyed Baby From Memphis

Sophisticated Lady

Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra - Don't Play Me Cheap

Sweet Sue, Just You

  • There's A Cabin In The Pines

Wingy Manone and his Orchestra

~(Harris, Young)

Every star above, baby,
Knows the one I love:
Sweet Sue - just you!

And the moon on high, baby,
Knows the reason why:
Sweet Sue - is you!

No one else it seems,
Ever shared my dreams,
Without you I don't know what I'd do.

In this heart of mine,
You live all the time,
Ooh, Sue - just you

brought to you by... 
Special Thanks To:
The Red Hot Jazz Archives,
The Big Band Database, Scott Yanow

and all those who have provided content,
images and sound files for this site.